By Renato Ghio
Danbury restaurateurs Tony Pham and Richard Reyes want to do more than have successful restaurants. They want to do some good and bring the community together.
On the business side, Tony owns Pho Vietnam and Richard is owner of Mezon, and together they own Mecha Noodle Bar. On the philanthropic side, the two childhood friends have formed Eat Justice, with the mission to translate taste and tradition to pride and progress. Through cause partnerships, creative events and everyday food choices, Eat Justice wants to keep cultural diversity strong, increase access to healthy food and empower the talented restaurant community. Their vision is to harness the power of food to change the way people engage with the restaurant industry, the planet and their community.
Last October, Eat Justice launched its first charitable donation project through the Fairfield location of Mecha Noodle Bar. During that month, it pledged 50 cents from each noodle bowl sold to the Norma Pfriem Breast Care Center. They raised a total of $2,500. Then, this past February, through the Mecha Noodle Bar locations in Norwalk and Fairfield, Eat Justice partnered with Jessica Wong of Holbrook Farm to raise money for a new greenhouse. It pledged 50 cents from every noodle bowl sold to the farm, raising $3,648 for the new greenhouse, which is key to helping Jess expand the farm’s offerings.
Currently, Eat Justice is raising money to improve the mental health in the restaurant industry. Restaurants are high-stress, fast-paced environments. Depression, anxiety, addiction and suicide occur at high rates in the restaurant world. The goal is to bring awareness to the issue and offer a way to help restaurant employees find healthy ways to de-stress. So, now through July, Eat Justice is pledging 50 cents of every empanada sold at Mezon to practices of mindfulness in the work place. The goal is to sell 5,000 empanadas to raise $1,000 that will provide 20 sessions of yoga and meditation to 25 restaurant employees.
Sounds like the perfect excuse to enjoy some empanadas at Mezon. Mezon is located at 56 Mill Plain Road in Danbury. To learn more about Eat Justice, visit eatjustice.com.
EMPANADAS PHOTO: from @mezon_ct instagram